Six Things I Dislike about School– and Some Finished Objects

1)      It takes away from knitting time.

2)      It takes away from blogging time.

3)      It takes away from my time spent learning things not in my curriculum.

4)      It takes away from doing fun cool things, like going to glass-blowing demos, or Indian cultural festivals, or global warming parties.

5)      It takes away from time to figure out what I’m going to do in less than three months as far as jobs and livelihoods go. Egads.

6)      It fills my days with homework that in the end, I send home to my mother to use in her wood-burning furnace.

 I might be feeling a little bitter at the moment. So take a look at Coquille instead:


Well, that’s Coquille blocking anyway. The Ironing Board Man seemed content covered in Coquille:


I finished it at the Global Work Party, having gotten sick of reading James Joyce. Not that I have anything against Joyce. It’s more the part where I started reading Joyce after answering lots of questions about Poe, after making eight journal entries for eight Poe stories, after reading Poe, after reading Shelley, after reading about the Mayan Empire, after reading about the Han Empire….

Ahem. Speaking of blocking—I never blocked Traveling Woman because I couldn’t really find a good way of doing it. Until today:


Fantastic wasn’t home, and no one was using the couch. Now Traveling Woman is.

Let’s take a look at Jaywalker:

Yep, that’s a finished Jaywalker. And IT FITS.

That makes me feel capable of handling the JoycePoePoePoeShellePoeMayanHanWordsworth routine, at least for another day.


A Story Concerning the Process of Osmosis

It is later in the evening, one fall day, and a knitter and her boyfriend of four years sit nestled on the couch, the former with her slowly forming Coquille, the latter with Nintendo DS and stylus. There is relative silence, broken only by the repetitive music of the Legend of Zelda, to which the knitter occasionally flinches, and narrows her eyes on her knitting.

It should be noted that in all of the four years, the boyfriend of the knitter has only once picked up the needles, on a furtive and brief exploit that immediately ended when the knitter suddenly appeared. Despite no words to the contrary proffered by the knitter, the boyfriend has stated endlessly his utter disinterest in learning to knit himself. However, as befitting a relationship of four years with a knitter, the boyfriend does know the difference between double pointed and straight needles, why wool shrinks, where one might find decent wool, and who Elizabeth Zimmermann is; he has been privy to sundry knitting conversations in penance return for sundry gaming discussions.

As Zelda saves, the boyfriend of the knitter looks over at her work. She has been knitting a gusset of the Coquille, and in the interest of laziness, has been knitting backward—rather than purling—across the wrong side. The save sequence ends and Zelda is back up with his triumphant music, but the boyfriend ignores it, totally engrossed in the knitter’s progress. He stares intently. “Wait a minute!” he exclaims.
The knitter looks up, shocked. Could it be? No, that’s impossible! “What?” she inquires.

“You’re doing it backwards,” he says, in mingled confusion and accusation.

Yep. That’s an osmotic knitter if I ever saw one.

Glutton for Punishment

Yep, that’s me. Here’s why:

To state the obvious, in case you’re rational (unlike me apparently), that is in fact a pair of double points, sock yarn, and the Jaywalker pattern. Photograph taken by me.

In case your rationality is still sending up too many red flags about this being totally wrong given the past six month’s anguish over the Jaywalker that wasn’t, I assure you that this is my intended new project.

I spent a frantic twenty minutes last night trying to find something to knit during my two and a half hour English Lit lecture. I failed. I took the four rows of Issy’s baby hat I had left to finish. It’s finished, minus seaming.

I rather guessed that four rows might not last the whole lecture. So I also grabbed the Coquille, and while pleasant, let me just say that it is a huge hassle to be knitting with two different sized needles. Those desks were just not made to handle a knitter of the Coquille. Of course, I have begun to suspect from watching the behavior of my fellow students that they may not have been made for knitters in mind at all, but I shall save that musing for another day.

In the meantime, I found in my twenty minute dig an old ball of Sockotta, and an old Jaywalker with a toe with a serious attitude problem:

And in case you’re wondering, aside from the toe, all is still not at all right in the formation of that little sock. Because that’s correct, it’s little. This one I can manage to squeeze on my foot, but it’s a close call. I made this sock about two years ago—at least.

I may have a problem.

You see, despite having tried Jaywalker five times (that I can think of right now), only one pair has come out right. And that pair had some serious heel issues, that I fixed with some miraculous fudge-it decreasing, and thus my Favorite Pair was born from my needles.

Then my sister shrunk one.

Katie wears them now, being blessed with small feet. Try as I might, I couldn’t stretch it back out, so with grief in my soul, I felted the second. And I reflected upon all of this as I pulled out the pattern again today.

So I definitely may have a problem.

I may be a glutton for punishment, at least where Jaywalker is in the picture. I love this pattern in a way that is not consistent with the habits of someone who has a bulging mega-portfolio of patterns and eight pages of Ravelry favorites, but who has only knitted about—erm—a tenth of them. Probably less.

Yes, I know I do not use the right size needles or the recommended yarn. But this has never caused problems on so grand a scale as this in any other situation aside from Jaywalker.

I vaguely remember writing something a few months before Jaywalker about gauge and math and doing all sorts of checking and calculations and taking measured risks to attain my goal of a new Jaywalker.

I will not do so now. Screw it, I’m following the damn pattern.

Well, sort of.

Back on Track

All right, it’s the middle of September, I have my fifth and hopefully final semester under way, I am equipped with a brand new beautiful, and most importantly, functioning Macbook, and blogging will be forthwith back on track.

Here, in one post is the summary of my last few weeks:

Of course, powering this whole thing, is my new baby, the laptop I’ve been lusting over in great earnest since last December when my old one bit the dust:

It’s so pretty. I took some glamour shots, but let’s skip over my nerdy obsessiveness for now.

I’ve even created a whole little study nook in which to write and prod myself into making this final semester more productive:

And in the interest of making myself organized and thus, again productive, I also rearranged my room and made a little study bookshelf. You may begin to sense a theme here. Look, I have this many textbooks to read through this semester:

As for the knitting? Well, the knitting gods and goddesses decided I needed a little bit of a come down, for what I am not entirely sure. But the weeks have gone something like this:

1) Cate starts Coquille, Cate finds an ingenius way to measure how much yarn she;s using (well, actually, Andria comes up with it) by using a WORD, Cate makes the halfway point only slightly worried she’s using too much, then Cate realizes she misread the pattern, and there’s not a slight chance in hell she has enough, since it was only five repeats, not seven—so ri-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-p back.

If you’re interested, it now looks like this:

2) Cate starts her favorite baby hat ever for Issy, even making two identical earflaps the first time, Cate reaches the body of the hat, and realizes she misread the pattern, and the hat is meant for one to two years, not one to three months. Cate keeps knitting, thinking, ‘Babies grow, babies grow.’ Cate reexamines hat and notices it just might fit Issy’s head in a few months despite what the pattern says. Instead of thinking something may be amiss, Cate keeps knitting to the crown, whereupon starting the decreasing, she realizes she casted on only about one-third of the stitches she was supposed to and the whole hat is a bust—so it is ri-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-pped back.

Below are its sad remains. It will be reknit, but I need a beige break.

3) Cate has no other projects and needs something to knit in class. Cate hesitantly re-casts on Sock 2 of The Pair That Must Not Be Named. She makes it to the heel flap with only one minor frogging. She knits and turns the heel. She starts the gusset and foot pattern. She utters some profanity upon realizing she knit the heel differently from the last one. She ri-i-i-i-i-i-i-ps back. She counts. She counts again. She puts it away for a few hours, picks it back up, and counts one last time. She reknits the heel, turns it, knits at the gusset, and sprints to the toe. The gets grafted, the pair are held up to each other. At last examination, they appear to match—they are done at long last:

4) Cate needs a laptop cover, and decides to knit one using some handspun orange and brown Corriedale. Thinking she may be a little short, Cate resolutely keeps knitting, and ignores this fact until she runs out and upon measurement, it reaches only the front half of the laptop. ‘I’ve been wanted to make a rice bag,’ she thinks, and sews it up for this purpose instead. After one run through the washer for felting, she pulls it out and sees this:

That, my friends, is not a cube-shaped sack. Don’t ask me how it happened. It is a question of geometry that I do not want to venture into. Perhaps it will be more ergonomically correct?

Luckily a few things have gone right. Like laptop cover the second. Made from unidentified gift wool and some mohair Andria brought back from New Zealand, it actually made it around both sides of my laptop. It’s a wee bit wide– about four inches, so my plan is to cut it down and resew, with a possible trip back to the washer to make the seam strong. Sometimes I like felting.

I also needle felted some embellishments on my Grantham. Much as I like the goes-with-everything appeal of beige, the hat was a little…beige. It’s supposed to be a snowy Wisconsin winter, so I need some flowers to remind me there will also be a spring at some point:

And finally, how about a real picture of my February Lady Sweater? And perhaps with some buttons?

I found the perfect ones. Well, actually, after searching the button collection at Hancock Fabric, I found one package of two perfect buttons. Upon reaching for a second pack to make my three buttons—I lost where I had found them. Fantastic and I frantically searched for about ten minutes before she finally located them. It was a close call.

And now, without further ado, I have some textbooks to attend to.

Nap Time

Well, I’m back from a week off from work, visiting the family and acquainting myself with the newest little member, my sister, Isabelle Grace. She was born on August 9, the hottest day of the year, and weighed 7 lbs, 6 oz, laying to rest my mother’s thoughts that by this point she was going to come out toddler size and yelling “No!” already.

She’s absolutely beautiful:

The nurse commented that the baby was probably never going to be put down until she was about 15, with all the people wanting to see her. This may just be the truth.

Like I said it’s been hellishly hot. I try not to complain since I know there are only a few more weeks until I start having to wear a jacket, but like Marvelous says, it would be nice if Wisconsin could arrange for a little more of the lovely in-between weather of Fall and Spring. Then I could complain in peace about the heat, and not to have to hear some variation of, “Well, pretty soon you’ll be grabbing your winter parka and fending off below-zero windchill,” and know that it is, heartbreakingly, true.

But the heat! My ambition has been settling somewhere around zero. I go to work, I come home and shower, I eat, I read and towards the last few weeks, I knit. Yes, for a while, I wasn’t even knitting. Trying to write, research, exercise and otherwise be more productive than the cup sitting on my coffee table for the past few days was just not happening. Occasionally, Mr Wonderful and I would halfheartedly go for a walk. Well, he walked and I schlumped next to him, scuttling from shady spot to shady spot and saying things like “Can we puh-lease go home now….my feet hurt….I’m thirsty,” to which he would reply that this freaking walk was my idea in the first place, not his.

Being home for the week, the routine changed slightly. I have rediscovered how much I absolutely love knitting, which is odd, because I did know that beforehand, but my hands seemed to have forgotten or something. I have been knitting like a fool to make up for it. My wrist is complaining a little, and I pulled something in my thumb, but I have these to show for it:

This is an imaginary picture of my February Lady Sweater:


I am in love. Made of a recycled sweater, this new sweater is perfect in every way, and I can’t remember the last time I said that. Actually I don’t think I have. Not to jinx anything, there are mistakes in it, but it fits, it drapes, it’s soft, and I kept it on for about 5 minutes because it felt so lovely, which is saying something considering that I, the woman of the year-round pink-skin hot showers, have resorted to cold ablutions due to the weather. I bought buttons for it today, and I will get some real pictures up soon.

My first thought after finishing it was about casting on another. Again, despite the heat, I picked up and knitted both sleeves in my oven of an apartment because I was enjoying it so much. You might remember that my mom and I were doing it as a KAL, but we talked, and I confessed that I had been working on it covertly despite her having to rip hers out, and we agreed that we will just start over when she’s ready for a knitting project.

I also made this:

It’s a Drops hat for the baby. It won’t fit her now, since she is actually newborn sized, but I have a feeling she’ll grow into it.

I also made myself a hat, Grantham from leftover February Lady Sweater yarn. I am going to add a little needle felt decoration to the front eventually, and then, since I have still more yarn, my favorite baby hat of all time, the Debbie Bliss Moss Stitch Hat .

I ripped, rinsed, skeined, and balled this:

And soon it will be Coquille, at least I think.

Oh, and this was my project prior to all of these projects:

Yep, that would be “It’s a Girl!” beer sweater cozies, knit out of the most obnoxious pink I own (it wasn’t very, but I didn’t have a lot to choose from). For my mother’s sake (and my own, because I hate seams), I knitted them as top-down seamless raglan sweaters, which seems especially fitting since the little one was born on Elizabeth Zimmermann’s 100th birthday. You can ask my mom, but I don’t think that was on purpose. At least, she’s not admitting to it.

I think someone might need  a Baby Surprise Jacket after all.

The Doctor’s Visit and the Thief

I had a doctor’s appointment last week, which was, as usual, great fun. I got to face my favorite fear of getting poked with a needle. It usually goes something like this:

Nurse: “And how are you today, Miss Cate?”

Me: [looking a little like I drank too much coffee and starting to sweat] “Oh, good. And yourself?”

Nurse: “Fantastic thanks for asking. Now it looks like you are here today for a booster of X. Let’s get that started.”

Me: [squirming and starting to visibly sweat] “Oh it’s that time already? Yes, let’s get right to that.” [This last said with something like optimism and confidence]

Nurse: [prepping needle and doing her nurse stuff, starts up a conversation on the weather and the summer, and heaven knows what else]

Me: [looking like a three year old just off a lollipop marathon, all twitches and squirms, and not at all paying proper attention] “Mmmhmm… me too… really?…. how nice…..”

Nurse approaches with the needle and the little wipe. She reaches for my arm with the wipe only.

I jump about three feet, swiveling around in something like a tai chi move, ready to use her forward motion against her.

Cate: [flushing red] “Erm, sorry. I’m just… nervous.”

Nurse: “That’s okay, sweetie. What can we do to help? Want to read me that sign over there? Look at the dinosaur postcard… let me know when you’re ready.”

We play a fine little game of dodgeball a la booster shot for a little while, me trying to control my flinching and involuntary defense mechanisms, the nurse trying to humor me and get the job done, until finally, I get poked and do my best to continue with the overwhelming maturity and good grace I’ve shown thus far.

I’m not sure why I always leave exhausted and feeling about ten years younger (this is not yet a plus at my age, as it lands me smack dab in the middle of my teens).

I made it back to my place just fine, and dropped my bag in my bedroom. But my dresser looked funny. As in, not the way I left it.

The jewelry box was torn apart. Now, there is not one thing of slight value in my jewelry box. Heck, there’s not even jewelry in it. But the drawer was ripped out, the stuff in it– my bobby pin case, the chapstick that makes my lips break out, my old id card– rifled through and messy.

I couldn’t imagine Fantastic or Marvelous finding anything useful in there, and that was beside the fact that they wouldn’t have touched my box anyway. Mr W denied having been anywhere near the dresser, and I know I didn’t leave it like that.

Someone else had been through it. But… the doors were locked. I got that swooping feeling in my stomach and my eyes dropped to the floor as I tried to play it cool. And that was when I saw it.

The tiny remains of a ball of Mountain Colors Bearfoot, Thing One’s favorite in all of the world, the one that I have to re-hide every couple of weeks when she discovers it and does her deed. It had been in my jewelry box drawer.

Darned Cat.

The Mate

I lied to you.

I said I wasn’t going to start the next sock, that I needed a break, that I was exhausted by the frustrations of having two socks that look like this:

But I did it anyway. I started  sock number three, the prospective mate for sock number two:

And I am doing it like this:

There is a certain fierce joy in ripping out the traitorous Jaywalker and immediately knitting a mate for the interminable Traveling Vine Lace. It feels good, very good.

I had to keep myself from cackling yesterday when I started it, because that felt just a little too vindictive.